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Microsoft has warned European PC users face an even longer wait for Windows Vista if EU antitrust regulators mandate further changes for the delayed operating system.

The company said it's awaiting the Commission's response to answers it provided regarding officials' concerns about planned features in Windows Vista. Microsoft reportedly said in a statement: "Once we receive the Commission's response we will know whether the Commission is seeking additional product design changes that would result in delay in Europe."

Recognizing a crude PR trick when it sees one, the Commission shot back saying it was "misleading" to imply it was responsible for delays to Windows Vista in Europe. Microsoft watchers will remember the company's long-running case with the US government did nothing to hamper the delivery of Windows XP in 2001.

Instead, Microsoft issued Service Packs after the release of Windows XP - which launched a full year before a final ruling in the US case - that allowed customers to remove icons for Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Internet Messenger, Windows Media Player and Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine (JVM) from the desktop and start menu, and to also install Sun Microsystems' Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Vista is currently penciled for broad availability in January 2007 following a launch for business customers in November.®

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